BLOSSOMS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 8.3.2017

In life, people’s paths briefly cross before they head in different directions. That happened in February last year when Blossoms (not to be confused with the 90s TV show starring her from The Big Bang Theory) played a gig at The Limelight.

Since that gig, they’ve went on to have endless success. The band who supported them that night, Viola Beach, died the week afterwards in a vehicular accident in Sweden. Blossoms have paid numerous tributes to them throughout that year.

That gig at The Limelight was originally supposed to be in Voodoo, but was moved to The Limelight due to demand. This was six months before the release of their debut album.

Even at this point, the band were no strangers to Belfast, having already supported Paul Weller at Waterfront Hall on his Winter 2015 tour, a concert that I attended. I remember being excited by this news, thinking to myself “That’s the band that does that song Charlemagne that I love”.

In the early months of 2015, they also supported The Charlatans on their UK Tour. Both bands will be supporting The Courteeners at their massive headline gig at Old Trafford in Manchester this summer. The cricket ground, by the way.

And just recently, they’ve been announced as support for The Kooks when they tour Mainland Europe in May.

It isn’t all supporting slots, they’ve even got their own massive headline gig at Castlefield Bowl in July as part of Sounds Of The City, Manchester’s version of Belsonic. Mancsonic, if you will.

Over the last few years, they’ve been bigged up by Tim Burgess on Twitter. They’ve also been bigged up by this blog, making regular appearances on The Friday Five and Charlemagne being declared The Song Of 2015.

As mentioned earlier, Blossoms have had a lot of success over the past twelve months. Take your pick. An NME cover, Number 1 album, an appearance on the New Year’s Eve edition of Top Of The Pops, and a Brit Award nomination.

This week, you may have seen them on The Premier League Show on BBC 2.

This gig would be a brief stop off in Northern Ireland, before three Republic Of Ireland gigs in Galway, Limerick and Dublin. A hand warm-up for their NME tour later this month.

This was my first gig of 2017. I’d hoped it would have been The Pigeon Detectives at HMV last Friday night. It was advertised as an instore gig, but they just showed up, signed a few autographs and then left.

Support for this gig came from a band from Derry called Touts. They were pure Derry every time they opened their mouths. Or rather, they were Peeeyuuurrreee Deeeee-errrrry hai everytime they opened their mouths.

Their singer was a massive Wellend. He probably gets drunk on Football Special.

Fronted by a Wellend from Derry, it was no surprise they were heavily influence by The Jam and The Undertones, with also a nod to The Strypes. If that’s your thing, you’ll probably enjoy these guys.

They clarified that, despite the name, they’re not actually touts. The only informing they’ll do to The Police will be to inform them that they think Sting is a cunt. Probably.

The band appeared on stage, jumping straight into At Most A Kiss before playing favourites from their debut album such as Getaway, Blown Rose and Honey Sweet.

The most obvious observation is that Josh Dewhurst looks like Dimitar Berbatov and Tom Ogden looks like Steve McManaman, but with longer hair. In both cases. Once it is seen, it cannot be unseen.

It’s hard to describe the music of Blossoms. It’s a little bit Disco, a little bit Synth Pop and a little bit Indie, fusing all three to perfection, even managing to do an instrumental cover of Gimme Gimme Gimme by ABBA.

Further covers appeared when Tom Ogden (That’s a proper Greater Manchester name that. Probably related to Hilda) did a solo acoustic session, performing excerps from You’re Georgeous by Babybird and Half The World Away by Oasis.

Before this, Ogden appealed to the crowd for someone who had just been dumped. There were a lot of responses. Eventually, the winning member of the audience was a woman called Orla (Awwwwwww, poor Orla) who had been dumped. Twice (Awwww, poor Orla).

The most recent was by someone called Ryan, who got roundly booed. If you’re reading Ryan, BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

The encore include Charlemagne, the winner of Best Song Of 2015, still sounding good in 2017.

Leaving the stage, the band stated they hoped to see Belfast again soon. Knowing the way the music industry works, hopefully a Belsonic announcement is being embargoed until the Irish tour is over.

There’s still a long way to go to match the success of fellow Stockportonians 10CC. To paraphrase one of 10CCs biggest hits, Belfast didn’t like Blossoms. They loved them.

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CAST – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 10.12.2016

It might seem like The Limelight is hosting a month long 90s revival festival, as I headed there for the third time in just over a week, this time to see Cast, just over a year since they were last in Belfast, also at The Limelight, in October 2015.

Unsurprisingly, it was a hits heavy set, it’s easy to forget that they had ten Top 20 singles between 1995 and 1999.

The highlight for me was Finetime, which sounds as good live as it does on record. One of my favorite songs ever, not just amongst Cast songs.

Their hits during their chart heyday were always catchy, with the crowd being able to recognise and sing along within seconds of the band starting to play.

It’s wasn’t all old stuff, there were some new songs as well, as the band have a new album out in February called Kicking Up The Dust, with the title track being played as well as Birdcage and Roar. Birdcage was the highlight of the new songs played.

John Power took the time to tell the crowd about his walk around Belfast earlier that day, that all he could see was people wearing Christmas Jumpers, hitting home for him that Christmas is approaching.

As the band played their final song, John Power said “See you soon” and walked off the stage. Each band member left individually leaving drummer Keith O’Neill the last one on stage, entertaining them with a drum solo.

If Cast split up again, he could always go on a solo tour.

Then, followed confusion, as the fans awaited what the expect an encore. It soon became apparant there was going to be no encore, which prompted boos from a section of the crowd.

Belfast is a city of poets and thinkers with a unique grasp of the English language, and a gentleman beside me eloquently summed up his thoughts when he shouted at the empty stage “THAT’S FUCKING SHITE ………. SO IT IS”

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise decent gig.

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Cast live at The Limelight October 2015

Cast live at The Limelight October 2015 Photo Album

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – LIVE AT BOUCHER ROAD PLAYING FIELDS (TENNENT’S VITAL) 25.2.2016

Against my better judgement, I headed to Boucher Road Playing Fields for Tennent’s Vital, this night headlined by Red Hot Chili Pepepers. Basically, because I love RHCP, though not so much love for the joyless event that Vital has become in recent years

It almost saddens me when a band I like headlines Vital.

It was the Chili Peppers first Belfast gig since 2011, when they performed at Ulster Hall as part of the MTV EMAs. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a ticket for that gig.

Their last Belfast gig before that, was in the same venue in 1992. I was a bit too young for that gig.

Having arrived at the venue, I was greeted by Airport Security. Yes, Airport Security. For a concert. We didn’t even have that during the troubles.

The main support came from Fall Out Boy. I like Fall Out Boy, and not just because they get their name from The Simpsons.

I wouldn’t have been rushing if they were the headliners, but as support acts go, not too shabby.

I was far back with not a great view, as I looked on in amazement at seeing The Pit being half empty.

An invention at Vital is to have a pit for VIPs while the plebs have to fight for scraps, as music fans get divided into the haves and have nots.

Belsonic might not be perfect, but at least I know if I want a decent view, I have to turn up early.

Want a decent view at Vital? Have a mate who works for a sponsor or a PR company.

Eventually, the Chili Peppers appeared on stage, rifling through hit after hit, even though the UK Record Buying Public has only rewarded them with one Number One, and that was when All Saints covered one of their songs.

They sounded good, the only downside was that I couldn’t see them, due to being so far away.

As an added bonus, I was surrounded by Shitebags.

One person grabbed my throat for simply being an onstacle on his route to the front of the stage. Thankfully, I managed to push him away from me, but it was too dark to get to get a look at them as he ran off.

It’s not a particularly nice feeling when you are trying to watch the gig while having to keep an eye on what is going on around you.

Big events in Belfast usually attract Shitebags sadly, and this was no different.

I’ll never understand the mentality of throwing beer at concerts.

The tightwad in me can’t understand buying something and not fully consuming it. Then there’s the factor that you’re being a cunt.

I’m not being precious, and you’re not “Rock n Roll”, you’re just being a dick. People are coming out to watch a band, and not to have drinks and (plastic) glasses thrown over you.

If it’s not acceptable behaviour in any other environment, why would it be acceptable at a concert?

From Shitebags to another type of bag, namely backpacks. A curious phenomenon of this gig was the sheer volume of people wearing backpacks, on two straps, taking up space, and then banging into you as they walk past.

Why on earth do you need to bring a backpack to a concert?

It’s only a one day event for group out loud. All you need is money, keys, phone and a camera if you wish. You don’t need to bring a packed lunch, there are food stalls there.

And then there was the joy of having people walking from side to side aimlessly.

“How was the Chilli Peppers gig?”

“Oh it was grand aye, I just walked about from side to side”

Onto the music, it was a hit filled set, with fans being treated to Can’t Stop, Dani California, Scar Tissue,
Snow, Otherside, Californication, Under the Bridge and By the Way.

Surprisingly, Under The Bridge was in the main set. I thought that would have been saved for the encore.

Amongst the new songs played was the lead single from their new album The Getaway.

It’s a grower, but when it grows on you, you will love it.

If they are still playing live in five or ten years time, it’s a song that will be cemented in their setlist.

The only downside of the setlist was that it got a bit self indulgent, veering into Spinal Tap territory, like duelling banjos but with guitars.

For the encore, we got a special treat, an instrumental version of We Will Rock You merged with an instrumental version of We Will Rock You, before performing Give It Away.

Immediately, after the gig, a Dublin date for December was announced, while a UK tour was also announced.

Can’t help but feel that an Odyssey gig in December would have been preferable to being sat in a field surrounded by Shitebags.

It wasn’t all bad. As I was walking along the Lisburn Road, a woman kindly helped me put on my poncho (Don’t laugh, I had one in my back pocket. I’d gotten it free at a Northern Ireland match when I sat in the roofless pre-redevelopment Railway Stand)

I guess Belfast folk aren’t all knobs.

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MUSE – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 6.4.2016

I’ve always loved Muse, going back to their debut album and the single Muscle Museum, which managed to rhyme “Toilet” and “Spoil It” and have enjoyed how big they’ve become over the following 16 years. Finally, I got to see them in concert.

I had hoped it would be last year, when Matt Bellamy teased a surprise concert on Twitter, before an Ulster Hall concert was announced at four days notice. Sadly, it sold out before I was able to get a ticket.

Ulster Hall is a bit of a downgrade for Muse, they’ve been Odyssey sized for a while, playing there in 2006 but not since.

As well as being the city that kicked off the Drones tour in March 2015, Belfast holds a special place for Matt Bellamy as his mum was born there.

Eventually, they appeared on stage, jumping straight into Psycho.

Like with most Muse songs it had thunderous drums and piercing guitars.

Naturally, there was guitar solos and over the top ridiculousness aplenty. Muse have never shied away from that or taken themselves too seriously to care how they look.

Such is the ridiculousness, you could make band names from song and album titles such as Supermassive Black Hole, Knights Of Cydonia, Neutron Star collision, or Origin Of Symmetry.

You can’t have Madness as they pre-dated the Muse song by 33 years.

The stage was mostly in the round, with multiple mic stands for Matt Bellamy to use as he pleased, as well as a catwalk at both ends for him to walk along.

Bellamy was either right beside you or at the other end of the arena. There was enough of him to go about, as he regularly changed ends between songs.

The bit of the stage that was in the round even spun around when the band were performing on it.

Chris Wolstenholme wasn’t afraid to join in the ridiculousness, having a glow in the dark Bass and changing them between songs, having one in White, Blue, Red and Green.

Muse are at the stage where they could wheel out a Greatest Hits set, bashing them out one after each other. Those who were there for hits weren’t to be disappointed with Uprising, Resistance, Plug In Baby, Dead Inside, Madness, Starlight, Supermassive Black Hole and Undisclosed Desires all on the setlist, with Mercy and Knights of Cydonia performed during the encore.

The biggest reaction came during Starlight with fans clapping along to the drumbeat and singing the piano bit during the intro.

Fans were treated to large balloons filled with confetti being dropped from the sky, as well as ticker tape covering the arena later in the show,

I would have loved to have seen two of my personal favourites, Panic Station and Neutron Star Collision performed, but it was still a strong setlist.

During the show, Matt Bellamy said “We haven’t played this building for ten years, it won’t be so long until the next time”

As the band left the stage, the concert ending with a guitar solo v drum solo shoot-out between Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard, drummer Dom Howard said they won’t leave it ten years before their next Belfast show.

Belfast folk will be holding Muse to that promise between now and 2026, just as we’re constantly reminding Foo Fighters and Bon Jovi of those Belfast gigs they’ve promised.

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PRIMAL SCREAM – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 24.10.2013

Primal Scream made a long awaited return to Belfast for two gigs at The Limelight, on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th.

Originally just a Thursday gig, a Wednesday night gig was announced soon after when the Thursday gig was sold out.

As soon as the original Thursday gig was announced, I was straight to get a ticket, it had been a long wait for me to see Primal Scream, 11 years in fact, since they headined the Sunday night of the very first Tennent’s Vital.

I was very surprised by the choice of venue, as I thought they would have been able to play a bigger venue.

It was an early show (the band were onstage by 8.15pm), which caught a lot of people by surprise, as they just casually walked on stage, almost unnoticed, as the crowd were slow in the applause for the band they had come to see.

They opened with “2013”, a single from this year’s ‘More Light’ album, instantly recognisable with a distinctive saxophone riff.

The setlist, was rock heavy, focusing on songs from their current album, the highlight of which was “It’s Alright, It’s OK”, which even though it’s a new song, is best described as “Classic Primal Scream”

Big hits followed, such as “Country Girl” and “Rocks”

For the encore, the real classics were saved. Song songs are instantly recognisable within a second, and “Loaded” is one of those songs, with the crowd cheering wildly at the first mention of “Just what is it that you want?”

It was the best song of the night, the drumming was immense. Next up, was “Movin On Up”, with the tender acoustic intro being replaced with a loud electric guitar.

It didn’t matter, the crowd were loving up. Having originally appeared to be aloof and moody on stage during the earlier songs, Bobby Gillespie was now dancing, smiling and blowing kisses to the crowd.

He spoke of his love for Belfast, dedicating a song to David Holmes, who worked with them on their new album

11 years after I last saw them (It was my third time, having also seen them at T In The Park in 2002) and Primal Scream remain a class act.

Hopefully, it won’t be 11 years before I see them again.

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ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – LIVE AT SECC 13.4.2013

Given the opportunity to see two of my favourite bands on the same bill, it would have been rude to turn down the opportunity.

I love Echo and the Bunnymen, and I must admit, the idea of them supporting James seemed a bit odd, as they never seemed natural bedfellows. People I had spoke to waiting to enter the arena were there solely to see the Bunnymen.

This was my second time seeing them, and it was very much like my previous time. They just got onstage and performed, not much interaction with the crowd, apart from when Ian McCullough praised Electronic Cigarettes, and to dedicate one song to Margaret Thatcher, clarifying, as if he needed to that “It wasn’t a tribute”

The setlist was mostly a Greatest Hits set, comprising of songs from Ballyhoo, apart from their big 1997 comeback hit ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’

A strange set due to it being reduced, and as support for another act, but still enjoyable.

Photo Album

See Also

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At Custom House Square 2010

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At Custom House Square 2010 Photo Album

 

 

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (BELSONIC) 20.8.2012

Even though I saw him at The Odyssey, as soon as it was announced that Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were playing Belsonic, I made sure I was at the front of the queue for a ticket.

Musically brilliant, mixing solo songs and Oasis classics on a rotating basis, like his performance at The Odyssey. The thing is though, his solo album is so brilliant, he shouldn’t really need to rely on old songs to fill up a setlist.

Disappointingly, there was no encore, much to the anger of the crowd, a simple, rather swift just walking of the stage.

Managed to get an OK position for photos.

Enjoy

Photo Album

SEE ALSO

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Live At The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Time Flies

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants

Beady Eye Live At Ulster Hall

Beady Eye Photo Album

Oasis Live At Slane 2009

Oasis Live At The Odyssey 2008 Photo Album

Oasis Live At The Odyssey

Oasis Live At Lansdowne Road 2000

 

THE ENEMY – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (BELSONIC) 20.8.2012

Was at Custom House Square on Monday night for Belsonic, Noel Gallagher headlining and The Enemy Supporting.

Third time seeing The Enemy. Not a bad support band, can’t say i’d go and see them headline.

Got some not bad photos.

Enjoy.

Photo Album

SEE ALSO

The Enemy Live At Ulster Hall

The Enemy Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

The Enemy Live At Belsonic 2008

The Enemy Live At Belsonic 2008 Photo Album